Pinnock Leads No. 8 Colonials Past Dayton, 81-67
Junior guard scores 21, Mensah-Bonsu adds 20 in 11th straight win.
Feb. 8, 2006
WASHINGTON (AP) - The first was a breathtaking alley-oop. The second could have been an audition for the NBA slam dunk contest.
With the outcome of the game decided early, the only real scorekeeping to do in the second half of George Washington's victory over Dayton on Wednesday night was the style points for Danilo Pinnock's dunks.
Pinnock scored 21 points, and Pops Mensah-Bonsu had 20 in the 81-67 victory, the 11th straight win for the eighth-ranked Colonials. George Washington improved to 19-1, matching the 1953-54 team for the best 20-game start in school history, and its 9-0 record in the Atlantic 10 makes for a commanding lead in a league in which no other team has fewer than three losses.
Pinnock made seven of 12 shots and had six rebounds and four steals, but his highlights came after the game was well out of reach. He sailed well above the rim to slam home an alley-oop pass from Montrell McDonald on a fast break with 10 1/2 minutes remaining, then raised the Smith Center roof when he finished a solo breakaway by tossing himself a pass and catching it at the rim for a two-handed dunk.
For the record, Pinnock voted for dunk No. 1.
"I've got to go with my freshman throwing me the 'oop," Pinnock said. "We practice our break like that a lot. I almost didn't go up to dunk it because I was surprised he threw it up there. I think the pass was a lot better than the dunk, truthfully, but I think that was better than the throwing the 'oop to myself."
As Pinnock spoke, coach Karl Hobbs interrupted by coughing loudly.
"How about his defense?" Hobbs said. "How about him guarding his man?"
Freshman Charles Little, making his first career start, scored 13 points to lead Dayton (11-13, 3-7). The Flyers, who fell to 1-7 on the road, were outrebounded 38-27 and never recovered after missing eight of their first 11 shots in an inhospitable arena where the Colonials are 12-0.
George Washington opened the game with a 14-3 run.
Brian Roberts hit a jumper to cut the lead to eight late in the first half, but that was the last time the deficit was under double digits. Roberts went 0-for-7 from the 3-point range, and Norman Plummer went 2-for-9 from the field.
"That's a heck of a team we played tonight," Flyers coach Brian Gregory said. "Unselfish, 21 assists in 29 baskets. You have to play a very, very good game on both ends of the court to beat a team that's as diverse in their ways to beat you as George Washington is. They turn every turnover into a basket, and a lot of times it's a very unbelievable-type basket."
Mensah-Bonsu made eight of 12 shots, including a layup after a dynamic reverse spin move in the paint that gave the Colonials a 13-point lead late in the first half. Mensah-Bonsu ended the half with a dunk off of an offensive rebound, putting George Washington ahead 49-30 at the break, and fans serenaded the senior center by chanting "You can't stop him" in the second half.
When Mensah-Bonsu wasn't getting room inside against the Dayton zone, George Washington compensated by making 10 of 26 3-pointers. The Colonials had 3-pointers from four different players to account for all of the team's points during a 4 1/2-minute stretch in the first half.
As usual, Hobbs downplayed the Colonials' latest milestone, saying once again that his team is overachieving.
"I'll continue to say that," Hobbs said, "until these players make me believe otherwise."